New Zealand suffers from a national shortage of bourbon and RTDs


Low-end bourbons and RTDs, such as Woodstock, Cody’s, Billy Maverick, and Diesel are the hardest hit by the shortage. File photo / Greg Bowker

New Zealand’s biggest liquor suppliers say there is a nationwide shortage of bourbon.

Retailers in Auckland, Hamilton, Rotorua, Wellington and Christchurch, as well as a Liquorland spokesperson confirmed the shortages were indeed nationwide.

Low-end bourbons and RTDs, such as Woodstock, Cody’s, Billy Maverick and Diesel were the hardest hit by the shortage.

Forrest Hill Liquor Center manager Joel Lee said his store has been out of stock of most bourbon products for more than three months and suppliers have told him to expect weeks or additional months of delay.

“Every day I get 10-12 customers who get upset because we still don’t have what they want. Some of them end up buying different brands or whatever, but a lot of them just leave to try to other liquor stores,” he says. .

Rod Emmerson's point of view.
Rod Emmerson’s point of view.

A Lion Co spokesperson said rising global demand coupled with “uneven” shipments were to blame.

Aotearoa’s supply chains have suffered from the Covid-related recession, and the spokesperson says bourbon has been hit harder due to increased global demand.

“The supply of bourbon has been tight around the world for several years…As a result, we had a short period in which we stopped production of Billy Maverick and Diesel.

“Billy Maverick is now back in production…Diesel may be unavailable for a bit longer. The bottled bourbon we distribute remains in stock.”

Woodstock and Cody’s supplier, Asahi, have been contacted for comment.

Figures from Statistics NZ show Kiwi demand for spirit drinks and stronger alcohol has increased steadily over the years.

Statistics NZ reported that the volume of spirit drinks (less than 23% alcohol) available in Aotearoa increased by 13.6% to 84 million liters in 2021, while spirits (over 23% of alcohol) increased by 2.3% to reach 16 million litres. .

Spirits and spirits-based beverages accounted for 33.4% of the total volume of pure alcohol available to Kiwis in 2021, up from 24.1% in 2006.

This contrasts with beer consumption, which has declined since 2006 (from 67% to 59%) and wine consumption, which has remained relatively flat (20%).

The Sale and Supply of Alcohol Bill proposed by Green MP Chlöe Swarbrick was pulled from the vote in parliament last week.

The bill proposes to reduce the harm caused by alcohol by removing the special appeals process for local alcohol policies and removing alcohol sponsorships and advertisements from broadcast sports.

Swarbrick said alcohol is “a drug that is the leading cause of preventable death and morbidity, globally and in Aotearoa.”

In 2007, approximately 800 deaths, or 5.4% of all deaths under the age of 80, were attributed to alcohol.

“Its damage costs our country $7.85 billion a year…the question is whether we want to process the evidence to materially reduce that damage.”


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